So. If MIDI sync isn’t going to do the trick, how do we work without it?

Well, first off – it all depends on the context. The short drama I’m going to present right now can be easily adapted to some contexts but not as well to others…I leave it to you to digest and see what you can do with it.


Two performers enter: JUNG and RIECH. They approach a platform containing two computers running Ableton Live. Alongside them are assorted MIDI controllers and a variety of cables. Before them is an excited CROWD.

JUNG begins the music. It is a robust 95bpm.

REICH sets his MASTER TEMPO to 95bpm and begins playback by tapping the spacebar as close to the downbeat of a bar as possible. No music is heard by the CROWD when he does so. He is monitoring his signal in headphones and sending no signal the PA.

Even though his tempo is already correct, it is slightly out of phase with his partners tempo. He uses the TEMPO NUDGE buttons to lock it in perfectly.

Picture 12

REICH then mixes his signal into the PA sending waves of bliss into the eagerly awaiting CROWD. Much rocking ensues.

After a suitable interval, a short dialogue occurs between the performers:

REICH: I’m going to 100bpm!

JUNG: OK, I’ll mix out

(he fades, filters or otherwise removes any signal from the PA which contains a clear tempo)

JUNG: I’m out!

(REICH establishes the new tempo)

REICH: We’re at 100!

JUNG: Sweet.

(he now returns himself to the mix in the manner described above)

The CROWD convulses with paroxysms of euphoria.

Full Rinse, Repeat.